Weird Dreams Are Weird Sometimes


I had one of those dreams last night where, at some point during the rise back to consciousness, you say, oh right, that’s not real.

It wasn’t anything particularly spectacular, though it was a little on the strange side. I belonged to a gym, or had joined a gym, it wasn’t clear which, and there was a big, complicated game going on throughout the facility. In the dream, I understood it, I think I even knew where we were in it, but now, as an awake person, it’s just a jumble of confusion.

And oddness.

I didn’t know any of the people in my dream in real life, though I thought I did in the dream, but my dreams are often like that, packed with people I’ve made up completely. Though who am I fooling? My real life is like that, with my head packed with people I’ve made up completely and are clamoring to be written down.

Maybe it’s my characters’ way of getting to the forefront? Show up in a dream, and maybe you’ll show up on a page? Who knows.

But it’s interesting, that divide between the dream world and the real one, and how, for a few minutes at least, it’s tough to tell one from the other.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

It’s Not Procrastination. Unless It Is


OK, it’s not procrastination. I swear. It might look like procrastination, and it might sound like procrastination, but really it wasn’t.

I had to get the weather widget back on my phone.

You see, I’d taken it off because it wasn’t updating. The weather being what it is right now–which is changeable and arbitrary–I absolutely need to have it at my fingertips. And yes, you’re right, it’s technically at my fingertips in a myriad of ways, including going online on the phone itself to find it, but why do that when there’s supposed to be a widget?

So it took me an embarrassing amount of time to figure out how to get a widget, and not an app button, back where it belonged. And then it wouldn’t update again. So I downloaded some others, and now the widget expert that I’ve become, I tried them out.

I found one I liked better.

Incidentally, “widget” used to be a word that we used to stand in for nothing in particular. You talked about someone selling widgets for an example of whatever concept it was, usually contracts. Now a widget is an actual thing. How about that.

Anyway, I could try to turn this thing into a lesson on deviating from your set plan and ending up somewhere nicer than where you aimed to go, but I’ll ‘fess up.

It was procrastination. And you know what? I’d do it again.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Flowery Praise for Flowering Trees


spring treesWhatever the weather might choose to be doing, the flowering trees are going ahead with spring as planned. Their branches explode with tight clusters of flowers, big magnolias, sprays of cherry blossoms, and everywhere around here, fluffy crabapples.

Crabapple is such an ugly name for such a lovely tree, but that’s the name it’s got, so that’s the name it has.

I was thinking about the beauty of flowering trees. At one time, flowering trees meant fruit; now, of course, we have ornamental varieties. Maybe we always had ornamental varieties, only they weren’t being used for ornament, just going about their business, but I digress.

So I wondered if something like a flowering tree is, inherently, beautiful, or if we come to think of it as beautiful, after eons and eons of refining our humanity, because of what those flowers mean.

Is the concept of natural beauty ingrained within us? Is it something that we learn after grown-up after grown-up points to the flower-laden branches and says, “isn’t it beautiful?”

Who knows. Whatever the reason, their beauty is brief, so we should enjoy it while we can.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Writing Too Much and Too Little, Simultaneously


Writing is weird. There are times when you don’t have a single idea in your head, and it’s as though every word in the language put its belongings in a little red handkerchief, tied it to a stick, and threw it over its shoulder to head off to parts unknown.

Other times, there are too many ideas to focus, so many tempting notions coming from all directions, and it’s tough to figure out what to grab first. Right now, I’m between the two, which is typical, as I have a manuscript–well, two–I’ve been neglecting.

I envy the writers who seem able to grind through it, no matter what else the universe has in store for them. I’m so easily distracted, so easily wrapped up in the drama of my actual world that the drama of my imaginary one gets shoved aside.

I know. Bad writer.

If want to get what’s in my head out of my head, but my sluggish fingers on a reluctant keyboard seem so clumsy, so inefficient. I need a direct data link, though, as a lover of science-fiction, I know how that will turn out.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Time to Contemplate Time


I’ve been thinking a lot lately about time. That’s not unusual, really, time is fascinating. Just ask the Doctor. Or Marty McFly. Or Amber in my book The Great Paradox and the Innies and Outies of Time Management. Actually, strike that. Don’t ask Amber, she might have a different opinion of it all together.

It’s so intractable in its dogged, forward motion that we can’t help but look at it and wonder, what if it wasn’t? What if we had some control, what if we could delve back into the foggy reaches of the past, or drive ourselves onward into the future?

It probably wouldn’t turn out so well. In fact, we can be sure it wouldn’t turn out so well. Some laws of physics are there for a reason, I guess.

For something so abstract, it sure has a concrete effect on our lives. It’s our constant companion, ticking away at us, reminding us that now will not always be now. It’s no wonder we fantasize about making it beholden to us instead of the other way around.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.


30 Days of No Gossip? Don’t Know If I Could…


I haven’t done a book post in a while, so why today? Author Stephanie Faris stopped by on her blog hop celebrating the reveal of her new cover:





Cute, right? Well, the new book’s not available until 2015–crazy to write that date and yet have it be so close–so I figured I’d feature her first book with an equally adorable cover. Could you go 30 days without gossip? I hate to admit it, but I’d probably have a hard time. Maybe this one’s not just for ages 9-13.

30 Days of No Gossipby Stephanie Faris. Amazon for $5.98. Can a middle school gossip queen change her ways, or will she lose her BFF for good? Find out in this M!X original novel.

Maddie Evans prides herself on being the gossip queen of Troy Middle School. She is the first person her classmates go to when they need the latest news on the ins-and-outs of TMS—and Maddie never disappoints.

Her best friend since birth, Vi, isn’t crazy about Maddie’s penchant for passing on rumors, but it’s never been an issue in their friendship. Until the day Maddie lets slip who Vi is crushing on—in front of her crush.

Vi is furious, and she confronts Maddie with an ultimatum: no gossip for 30 days, or twelve years of sisterhood goes down the drain.

Maddie agrees, but only a week into the challenge, she gets one of the juiciest pieces of gossip EVER—something that could affect the future of the school. Will she be able to keep her mouth shut and tame her ways? Or will she be left standing alone with no one to hear her stories?

Check out Her Cousin Much Removed, it’s FREE today!

Sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Is Spring a Thing?


Is it? Could it possibly be? Spring?

Yesterday my phone lied to me, told me it was a heady 79 degrees. I was skeptical, though, and just in case the temperature took a tumble, I grabbed my jacket on the way out of the door. Then my car told me it was 56. Fifty-six degrees.

I was glad I’d grabbed that jacket.

But today, my phone is telling me that it’s 72. Now we all already know that it is prone to slight exaggeration, or, in yesterday’s case, 20 degree exaggeration, but I’ve got to tell you, people out in in the blogosphere, it looks like it’s 72 degrees. The air looks warmer, the joggers aren’t bracing themselves against the wind. I think, for today, my phone might just be telling it like it is.

There’s a certain feeling when the weather changes, a sense of shedding something more than a heavy winter coat. And though the sky can’t seem to make up its mind, the trees look determined to push on with their leafy agenda.


Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Think Like a Tortoise


I sat down to write this post, and thought, hmm. Tuesday. What do I have to say on Tuesday?

Today’s Wednesday.

That’s my first problem. It’s one of those days where the brain gears are slipping, but I’m determined not to let it slow me down. Or slow me down more. OK, I’m moving kind of slowly today.

But there’s a kind of peace in going the way of the tortoise, a word whose spelling I always have to check, no matter how many times I write it. I am not a tortoise by nature, far from it. But embracing the measured, the deliberate has its advantages.

I’m almost always in a rush, nearly constantly in a hurry, whether that’s from the uneven movement of the clock or my own unstable relationship with time, I can’t say. All right. It’s probably the second one.

But when you rush, you skip over thoughts, skip over ideas that, over a little while, could ease right out. They’re left there, acres out, abandoned, likely to rust in the rain.

Or that’s what I like to think, anyway. It makes me feel better about being so far back on the to-dos.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.


First Impressions


I had the strangest experience last week. From where I work, I can see the lake, and one day, there was, as if from nowhere, a huge crane and a platform with steel girders standing vertically from it, as tall as the trees. I couldn’t see what the crane was hauling, but it made me sad. There’s this lovely, unbroken stretch of lakefront, and now there was going to be something built there, too.

It had me thinking about how little there is still completely left to its own devices, when it comes to nature, about the recent controversy of a privately-owned skywalk–you know, one of those glass decks that juts out of the side of a mountain–built in a Canadian national park. About how, even in our refuges from commerce, we seem to add commerce.

I’d resigned myself to a new structure forcing its way into the shoreline, wondered how it would look, whether it would stand as tall as the girders, as the red crane swung back and forth.

And then, later in the week, I caught sight of a barge. Then another one. I focused on my work, and looked up again. Suddenly, the thing I thought was so intrusive, the thing I thought was so permanent, was being towed away into the water.

So you never know.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.

Reflections Run from A-to-Z


So this year, I did my first A-to-Z Blogging Challenge. I say “first,” because I look forward to doing it again, tiring though it may be. I learned one big thing: whatever blogging is, I’ve been doing it wrong.

I’ve been blogging in sorta-isolation, sometimes visiting other blogs, but not participating the way A-to-Z requires. It’s a big blogging world out there, full of interesting people with different points of view, all with something to say. And I’d venture a guess that they still have something to say even when it’s not in alphabetical order.

To get more out of blogging, the truth is that you have to put more in. It’s the fun kind of work, the kind that can suck up time until you’re not sure where it’s gone, but it’s work. And it has rewards. Like meeting great people you can click with anywhere around the globe.

It’s had me experimenting with the format of my blog, with my frequency of posting. I’ve realized that I don’t have to be rigid in how I use this space; it’s my little corner of the internet to do with what I will.

I’d like to sincerely thank the organizers, hosts, co-hosts and helpers of the challenge, all of whom must have put in at least ten times the time the rest of us did. Thanks to you, I had an alphabetical blast.

Download Better Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities, it’s free!

Try Her Cousin Much Removed, or sign up for my spamless newsletter.